Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It's Baby Season! Two Great Baby Projects

Mitered Square Blanket and Jessy's Bonnet
Ok, I know that babies are actually born all year long, but according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention more babies are born in the summer than in the winter.  The highest month bounces around from year to year but is always either June, July, August or September.  The theory is that people spend more time indoors as the temperature drops in the fall and early winter and, well, nine months later babies are born! 

So chances are good that you know someone who is expecting this summer.  Hand knit baby gifts are always a treasure, and the best part is that they are frequently small, portable summer projects.

I've designed two timeless baby projects that are sure to steal any mother's heart - and make you the hero at the baby shower!


Mitered Square Baby Blanket
Mitered Square Baby Blanket
There's always a need for baby blankets, and this one's attractive, versatile, very simple to knit - and machine washable!  Knit in just two shades of Berroco Vintage Chunky, the Mitered Square Baby Blanket features a basic checkerboard pattern. Each square is cast on or picked up directly onto the previous squares and is completely bound off before the next square begins. The project is very portable since, between blocks at least, there are no stitches to fall off your needles while it's jostled around from carpools to knitting groups to soccer practice and home.

The blanket is knit in Berroco Vintage Chunky.  It's a heavier version of perennial favorite Berroco Vintage and is precisely what you'd expect from the line: buttery soft, colorful, and easy to wash.  While selecting colors, note that the Main Color is also used in the trim around the outer edge of the blanket. You'll need 5 hanks of the Main Color and 4 hanks of the Contrasting Color - and we've got 10 great colors to choose from!

Bonus:  Berroco Vintage Chunky is on sale at 20% off!

Super Bonus:  The Mitered Square Baby Blanket pattern is FREE with the purchase of Vintage Chunky!

Jessy's Baby Bonnet
Both simple and simply adorable, Jessy's Baby Bonnet is a sweet cotton bonnet with a ribbon tie. There's a bit of lacy detail without going overboard, so is an ideal project for girls or boys!

Jessy's Baby Bonnet
It's sure to be a family heirloom in Rowan's durable - and machine washable! - 100% cotton Summerlite 4-Ply.  Summerlite is a wonderfully soft cotton in a dozen splendid colors.  Knit a bonnet in a color or go traditional with basic white. If the parents are keeping the baby's gender a secret until the birthday, knit the bonnet in white and be prepared with both a pink and a blue ribbon!  Either way, this is sure to keep wee noggins warm for generations. If you knit the smaller size, you should be able to get two bonnets from a single ball of Summerlite 4-Ply.

Bonus:  Rowan Summerlite 4-Ply is on sale at 20% off!

Double Bonus:  Jessy's Baby Bonnet pattern is FREE with the purchase of Summerlite 4-Ply!

Happy Knitting . . . . Amy

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Lacy Knit Skirts - Elegant and Easy!

The Whippoorwill Skirt
Few things are more sophisticated and elegant than a lacy knit skirt . . . . . Unfortunately, few things look as intimidating as knitting a lacy knit skirt. All that lace and shaping just seems impossible.

But not now. 

I'm introducing two new skirt patterns that are simple to knit and great fun to wear!  The Whippoorwill Skirt is a deceptively simple design that alternates columns of chevron lace and eyelets in a beautiful all-over lace pattern that you'll simply love to wear.  And what about all that complicated shaping?  There isn't any.  Instead, the size of your needles gets larger from waist to hem to provide a subtle A-line.

The Kiskadee Skirt
The flirty Kiskadee Skirt is all gorgeous lace, but don't let the lacy appearance fool you.  It's also surprisingly simple to knit: the lacy pattern is only 13 stitches wide, again the A-line shaping is accomplished by graduating needle sizes between waist and hem, and the whole thing is knit in the round without any seaming.

And the yarn?  Wow - the yarn!  Both the Whippoorwill and Kiskadee Skirts are knit in Louet Euroflax Sport, a 100% wet spun linen in 14 delicious colors.  Linen has been used since ancient times, and the Ancient Egyptians thought so highly of linen cloth that it was sometimes used as currency.  Linen breathes naturally, so it feels cool and soft on the skin - great whether you are building the pyramids of Ancient Egypt or heading out to your office in the Midwest.  Linen is a very durable fiber that holds its shape year after year and softens with every wash.  But for all of its ancient goodness, it is a very modern fiber, too:  linen is machine washable, has a wonderful drape, and is sure to be one of those go-to pieces that look great for any occasion year after year. 

Euroflax Sport in French Blue
Bonus:  Both the Whippoorwill and Kiskadee Skirt patterns are FREE with the purchase of Louet Euroflax Sport yarn.

Double Bonus:  Louet Euroflax Sport  yarn is on sale at 20% off through May, 2015!

And speaking of knit skirts . . . Have you seen the new Berroco Norah Gaughan #16 pamphlet?  I love the new Togo Skirt.  Togo is a surprisingly quick knit, worked in the round from the bottom up in the lovely worsted-weight Berroco Modern Cotton.  Berroco's Modern Cotton yarn is a light and airy worsted-weight cotton blend yarn with a subtle sheen, beautiful stitch definition and a fabulous drape. The Togo Skirt has about fifty rows of the lace pattern, then simple panels of stockinette stitch the rest of the way up.

The Togo Skirt
You can purchase the Togo Skirt pattern as an individual pdf, or purchase the entire Norah Gaughan #16 pamphlet as a hard copy or as a pdfAnd we have the Berroco Modern Cotton yarn on sale at 20% off, too!

Happy Knitting . . . . Amy

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Knit the Red Planet Socks - Mars Rover Not Required!

Card 1 from the Topps "Mars Attacks" Trading Card Set
Earth's neighbor Mars has been the source of myths and legends for centuries.  In 1877 the "discovery" of dark lines visible on Mars were believed to be Martian-built canals (later proved to be an optical illusion), and the 1938 radio adaption of the novel "The War of the Worlds" by H.G. Wells seemed to be a real-time news report describing an invasion of Earth by attacking Martians.  Throughout the legends, the perception has always been that Martians were an intelligent, advanced race. 

But while scientists have not ruled out the possibility of life on Mars, it is most likely that Martian life, if any, will be discovered as tiny microbes or bacteria, not the green, multi-armed, highly intelligent beings of legend and comic book fame.

Red Planet Socks
The next sock in our Sock of the Month Club, the Red Planet Socks, adds ribs and a cable stitch patterning to a basic sock. The cables look like they could only have been created by a highly intelligent extraterrestrial life form.  Difficult?  No!  Cables are easy and a great way to impress the non-knitters in your life. If you knit last month's Launch Pad Socks, you will find the Red Planet sock pattern a natural next stop on your exploration of strange new worlds.

You don't really need multiple Martian arms to create cables, just a cable needle.  The cable needle holds stitches off your needles and out of your way.  When you return to the stitches and work them back into your project the stitch order has been swapped so that the cable is created.  Easy!  For visual instruction of cables visit Michelle Hunter's video.

Do you shy away from double point needles?  The Red Planet Socks use two circular needles at the same time to create the seamless narrow tube of the sock (I love the pointy 24" addi Sock Rockets!).  You simply cast on to one needle like normal, divide the stitches onto the two needles, and then use the flexible circulars to work around.  KnittingHelp.com has a great instructional video on their YouTube channel.

HiKoo American B.R.A.N.D. in Biscayne
The Red Planet Socks use just one skein of American B.R.A.N.D. yarn to create the Red Planet Socks. HiKoo® American B.R.A.N.D. is an all-American yarn: Born, Raised And Naturally Dyed.  It's a fingering weight wool, made with pride in the United States from start to finish. The wool is sheared from Rambouillet flocks that graze in pastures from Montana to Texas. The yarn is spun in Pennsylvania and dyed in North Carolina. Amazingly, the gorgeous palette of twelve bold colors comes from using only natural materials, including indigo, cochineal, gall nuts, pomegranate, cutch, walnuts, madder root, weld flowers and rhubarb root.  You'll need just one skein of American B.R.A.N.D. to complete the Red Planet Socks.

Because of the artisanal dyeing process, there may be some color transfer. We highly recommend washing your American B.R.A.N.D. yarn before winding it into a ball to minimize this transfer. The manufacturer also suggests using metal needles.

Red Planet Sock in Arches colorway
Bonus:  The Red Planet pattern is free with the purchase of HiKoo American B.R.A.N.D. yarn!

Call or drop a note if we can help!

Happy Knitting . . . . Amy

The trading card pictured at the top is from "Mars Attacks," a science fiction trading card series released by Topps in 1962.  The cards by science fiction artists Wallace Wood and Norman Saunders tell the story of Earth being invaded by a highly advanced, but cruel, race of Martians who intend to colonize the planet Earth.

Monday, May 11, 2015

All Berroco Yarns & Patterns are 20% Off!


Cheers! It's such a festive word! "Cheers" makes me think of parties, streamers, good friends, cold beverages . . .  and yarn!  But not just ordinary yarn, an abundance of yarn in bold colors and novelty textures.  Yup, I'm talking about our Berroco 20% off sale!  We have all of our Berroco yarn and patterns on sale at 20% off until May 31st.

I love the Berroco standards like Comfort DK, Modern Cotton and Ultra Alpaca, but have you tried the fun new Berroco yarns yet?
Maiella tank in Espresso
  • Espresso.  Knit like you are fully caffeinated! Espresso is a cotton blend chain construction yarn that feels light and airy.  The eight vibrant variegated colorways will leave you charged, and the bulky gauge makes your projects knit up caffeine-quick!  The Berroco Espresso booklet (#356) and the individual PDF's have fast knit Espresso patterns.
  • Indigo.  What's more comfy than a favorite pair of jeans?  Now you can knit with your jeans!   Well, sort of.  Indigo is made of 100% recycled denim and cotton fibers.  The earth friendly yarn works into a beautiful fabric that is a little tweedy - plus machine washable!  Great for cool summer projects like a short summer skirt or a tank. You'll find comfy, casual patterns in Indigo in the Berroco Indigo booklet (#353) and the individual PDF's
  • Fiora.  They say you can't have it all - but you can, with Fiora!  Fiora is a blend of cotton, viscose, alpaca, nylon and wool for the best of everything: softness, drape, sheen.  Plus, it's machine washable!  Find timeless, feminine heirloom lace patterns in Fiora in the Berroco Fiora booklet (#355) and in the individual PDF's
Gavarine Pullover
After nine years of great designs, Norah Gaughan has left the staff at Berroco to become an independent designer. That means the Norah Gaughan Volume 16 booklet and PDF's are her last designs with Berroco. Volume 16 is a collection of modern lace garments that are both comfortable and worldly.

Bonus:  All Berroco patterns, including Norah Gaughan Volume 16, are on sale at 20% off!

Lift up your glass with a hearty "Cheers!" for Berroco!  Now put your glass down and get knittin'!

Happy Knitting . . . . Amy

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Perfect Mother's Day Gift - Time!

Sweet Dreams by Firmin Baes (1874 - 1945)
What's the one thing all moms want on Mother's Day?  Time.  Sure, flowers and cards are nice, but you just can't beat giving mom a few hours alone, to do whatever she wants without having to stop to wipe someone's nose or change a diaper.  So dads, grandpas, friends and favorite aunts: take the kids out for a few hours and give the mom some alone-time.

And what will she do with her new-found freedom?  If she is a knitter, she will knit!  And I don't mean a garter stitch scarf . . . alone-time means time for something that takes a little concentration!  The kind where you just can not be interrupted!

Some ideas . . . .
  • Turn a Heel.  Nothing intimidates a new sock knitter more than turning a heel.  I always tell folks turning a heel is easy, but it is very important that you be completely alone, with the TV off and the phone put away, the very first time you turn a heel.  The Launch Pad Socks and Red Planet Socks are both easy sock patterns that are great for first-time sock knitters.  Visit Michelle Hunter's heel turning videos for some visual help.  
  • Knit Lace. It's always easier to start a lace pattern and get a few of the pattern repeats done without distractions.  The Barefoot 'N Bordeaux Shawlette is a great new pattern (and the pattern is free with the purchase of Mountain Colors Barefoot yarn), and the Lace and Rib Tank pattern is a cute summer shell (and Tahki Yarn's Cotton Classic yarn - in 46 great colors - is on sale at 20% off). 
  • Skein Yarn.  If you have little ones about, it is much easier to skein yarn without little hands getting tangled in the yarn.  Unwind your yarn with a swift, and then wind it into a center pull ball with a ball winder.
  • Read.  I don't mean glance at a pattern pamphlet, I mean take some time to leisurely browse through a big, fat knitting magazine: read the articles, ogle at the pictures, and be inspired by the patterns.  And, of course, you must read with a hot cup of tea or a cool glass of wine.  
  • Shop.  If you can't get the kids out of the house, then get yourself out of the house without the kids.  FiberWild! will be open our regular hours on Mother's Day (10 to 5), and the website is always open. If shopping is truly not an option for you on Mother's Day then strongly suggest that your family get you a gift certificate so that you can do some shopping later! 
Enjoy your day off, Mothers!

Happy Knitting . . . .  Amy

Friday, May 1, 2015

Nonatum!

Nonatum Tank
The new Nonatum Tank is ideal for spring and summer knitting - and wearing!  Knit in Classic Elite's beautifully cabled Provence mercerized cotton DK, Nonatum is a simple lace tank with a well-planned and genuinely interesting construction. Oh, ... and did I mention that I'm the designer?!

To achieve the lovely drape of lace from the shoulders, this garment is cast on at the neckline and worked briefly to add strength and substance to the shoulder straps. Then stitches are bound off for armholes, and the front and back are worked separately to the bottom of the armholes. From there, the entire body is worked in the round to create a seamless expanse of the lacy fabric.

It's surprisingly simple, but because of the intriguing construction - and the lacework - I categorized the skill level as Intermediate. Fortunately, the lace pattern is a symmetrical 12-stitch repeat, so the lace itself is not a major challenge.

Nonatum Tank Detail
I picked Classic Elite's Provence for the yarn.  It's hard to beat Provence for durability.  Egyptian cotton has a long staple length, and mercerization offers a spectacular sheen. Add to that Classic Elite's terrific color palette and cabled construction, and Provence emerges as a gorgeous workhorse of a yarn that looks great year after year. And at DK gauge, it's a great fit for all sorts of summer tops, light-weight jackets, bags, and even kidswear.

Bonus:  We have Provence on sale at 20% off!

The Nonatum Tank is part of Classic Elite's Along the Shore pamphlet, a 54 page collection of thirteen beach inspired designs for warm weather.  The pamphlet is available as a pdf electronic download or as a paper copy, and you can get the whole pamphlet or just pick and choose the individual pdf patterns you like best.

See you at the beach!

Happy Knitting . . . . Amy

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Liberty Wool Print - 20% off Plus Free Pattern!

Moss Cardigan
We're in love with Liberty Wool Print yarn from Classic Elite! Liberty Wool Print is a soft worsted-weight machine-washable 100% wool yarn in a huge assortment of self-striping colorways.

We have over 40 colors of Liberty Wool Print, but you can never have enough of a good thing!  We are excited to announce Liberty Wool Print's two new colorways for this month.  And why stop there?  Classic Elite will unveil a total of twelve new colors this year, two every month ... check in for new color updates!

Bonus:  All Liberty Wool Print yarn is on sale at 20% off!

This month's new colors are Moss and OctoberMoss is an earthy blend of greens, browns, grays and blue for a cool and refreshing color that will remind you of relaxing on the soft moss of a forest floor.  October captures the brisk red, brown and orange of fall leaves against the bold blue, green and purple of a crisp autumn sky. 

Double Bonus:  Choose the free Moss Cardigan or the October Scarf pattern with the purchase of any color of Liberty Wool Print!

October Scarf
The Moss Cardigan is a simple cardigan knit on a diagonal to give the great self-striping color a visual tilt. 

The October Scarf uses diagonal sections.  The sections play with the self-striping colors so that in some places the scarf gradually blends from one color to the next, while in other places the yarn seems to boldly jump from one color to the next.  Exciting!

More patterns?  It's easy to find pattens for a nice worsted weight yarn, from dramatic new designs to classic standards.  Check the bottom of our Liberty Wool Print page for some of my favorite patterns for kids, adults, shawls, hats, mittens, wraps, home decor, and more!

Prefer a single color?  Liberty Wool Print is known for its kaleidoscope of color, but sometimes a simple solid will do just fine.  Liberty Wool Print's solid color sister, Liberty Wool, is the same machine-washable wool available in 20 solid colors.  The Liberty Wool solids are great on their own, or as a secondary color to compliment Liberty Wool Print.

Happy Knitting . . . . Amy